No matter what you think of the Bucks' summer, don't call it boring. Sure, Ramon Sessions is still waiting for the Knicks to put us all out of our misery with an offer sheet, but the Bucks moves today make Sessions' exit seem a bit more imminent.
The Bucks signed Hakim Warrick to a one-year deal, reportedly in the $3 to $3.5 million range. The most important takeaway here is that the Bucks blew a huge chunk of their remaining dollars with this deal, seemingly begging the Knicks to make a move for Sessions. While Warrick's not going to fundamentally alter the course of the Bucks' future, he's a very useful guy who could start at PF...plus I like anyone who Kelly Dwyer approves of. Warrick's made a living putting up good numbers as a part-time starter for forgettable Grizzlies teams, so he'll probably perform similarly for a very young Bucks team. He's always been labeled a tweener and was kicked to the curb in Memphis, but his raw numbers last year were pretty encouraging: a 19.4/16.5 PER differential at PF as the Grizz were better offensively and defensively with him on the court. As the video above illustrates, he's at his best using his athleticism around the bucket and should enjoy playing with Brandon Jennings.
As of now the race to be the Bucks' opening night PF is wide open, with Warrick, Ersan Ilyasova and Amir Johnson each bringing something different to the table. Warrick is the athletic greyhound, Ilyasova the floor-spacer, and Johnson the athletic big man. Add to that Luc Mbah a Moute and Joe Alexander, and you've got an absolute ton of young, fairly athletic, and completely unproven talent at the forward spots. Something tells me
Bruce Bowen and Salim Stoudamire were both waived, saving the Bucks about $2.9 million. Bowen's $4.1 million became fully-guaranteed tomorrow, but the Bucks saved $2 million by cutting bait now. There had been a fair bit of trade talk surrounding him up until the last minute--involving Boston and perhaps the Knicks--but nothing ever came of it.
Stoudamire's minimum deal ($884k) would have become partially guaranteed if he made it to training camp, but he did nothing of note in Vegas before picking up yet another injury. His signing in April never made much sense to me, but fortunately the Bucks didn't commit any guaranteed 09/10 dollars to him. Essentially they gave him a couple weeks of minimum salary at the end of last season in order to have a right of first refusal on him this summer.
- Sonny Weems and Walter Sharpe have officially been acquired along with cash from Denver for Malik Allen. This is old news, but it hadn't been officially announced by the teams until today. And don't get too excited, because neither Sharpe nor Weems figures to ever play for the Bucks. Both guys have expiring deals at the second year minimum ($736k), but Sharpe is out for the year with an ACL injury and Weems' deal is only guaranteed to the tune of $174k. Given the Bucks shipped out $1.3 million with Allen, that means they save about $390k on the contract differentials. The JS reported the Bucks will save about $500k through the move, so perhaps they're factoring in the cash as well. The last thing I wanted to see was Allen steal minutes from all the other better/more interesting bigs on the roster, so clearing his roster spot while saving some money is just gravy.
- Ramon Sessions was expected by everyone to finally get his contract offer from the Knicks today...so of course it didn't happen. Marc Stein reports the Knicks will make an offer soon, and the Warrick deal should finally give them the assurances they need that the Bucks won't match a long-term offer sheet. Given the desirability of starting for Mike D'Antoni, Donnie Walsh knew Sessions would be willing to wait for a Knicks offer and essentially outwaited the Bucks, who had been keeping enough cash available under the tax to maintain a credible enough threat to re-sign their young point guard. But apparently the opportunity to sign Warrick was appealing enough to give up the charade. Even assuming Warrick comes in at $3 million even, the Bucks would have $67.583 million committed to 14 players, leaving just $2.337 million to re-sign Sessions while staying under the tax. Sure, the Bucks could match an offer and then try to wheel and deal to get under the tax by the end of the season, but the Bucks don't seem all that interested in Sessions now that Brandon Jennings is in town.